Devotion for Friday, September 16th, 2011
27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.
Today, James gives two more tests of authentic faith in God.
- “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction”…- Visit here is speaking of spending time with, and ministering to orphans and widows. James is saying that true faith in God is demonstrated when, out of pure motives, we help those who can not help themselves. James speaks of two groups of people who when we help them most often can’t give us anything back in return.
- “to keep himself unspotted from the world.”- world here is not speaking specifically of just people. It is speaking of the world system. In another part of the Bible it is described as the “lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.” Being unspotted here speaks of an inward purity, not simply an outward purity. When we have faith in God, and we realize that the person whom we should desire to please most is God, then we realize that it is not enough just to look pure to those around us. We realize that God sees and knows our hearts. As we seek to please Him, we keep ourselves pure not just in the eyes of men, but in the eyes of God with his help.
Again, these are not ways for us to attain merit with God, or salvation. These are simply marks of authentic faith in God.
Has there ever been a time in your life where you helped people who couldn’t possibly help you back? Here is a better question- when was the last time you helped someone who needed it without any intention of getting something back from them? Here is another question- How is your purity? If God were to give a testimony of you, what would your reputation be with Him? Would it be like Job? (Check out Job 1) Take some time to check yourself!